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Bears notebook: Piñeiro range limit ‘a real legit question’

Down 7-3, Bears went for it on fourth-and-10 instead of letting Eddy Piñeiro try a 51-yarder — ‘that was past the [distance] we talked about,’ Matt Nagy said.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears
Bears coach Matt Nagy was disappointed by the performance of the Bears’ offense in a 10-3 loss to the Packers on Thursday night at Soldier Field, but not discouraged. “Don’t panic,” he said. “The people that panic, it doesn’t go very well. You can’t panic. There is too much season left and I refuse to do that.” 
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Bears coach Matt Nagy defended his decision to try to convert a fourth-and-10 from the Packers’ 33-yard line rather than have Eddy Pineiro try a 51-yard field goal late in the third quarter.

It was past Pineiro’s acceptable range into the wind, though Nagy indicated he likely would have let Pineiro kick if the Bears had a chance to tie or take the lead. They trailed 7-3 at the time.

But the better question is how comfortable Nagy is with a strong-legged kicker who can’t try a 51-yard attempt at any point in a key divisional game.

“I think that’s a real legit question for sure,” Nagy said Monday at Halas Hall. “He hit a 53 [yarder in warmups] earlier — I think it was going the other way, and that was a little windy. So going that way, we knew it was going to be close, and if he doesn’t get it now, they get the ball [at the Packers’ 41].”

Instead, Mitch Trubisky scrambled for a three-yard gain, and the Packers took possession on downs at their 30.

“I felt like the percentages were better for us to go for it and get it,” Nagy said, “and if we don’t, the defense is up with them having the ball [at the 30] instead.”

The bright side

Nagy found a few bright spots after the disappointing loss. The Bears “got out pretty clean” on the injury front, he said. And the defense held Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to 10 points.

“As bad as we were on third down [3-for-15], they were worse [2-for-12],” Nagy said.

Linebackers Leonard Floyd (two sacks) and Roquan Smith were as good as advertised.

“I love it. I absolutely love it,” Nagy said. “That part is getting overlooked because the big question that y’all had coming into this was, ‘How are these guys going to do in coach Pagano’s defense?’ I think they showed how they’re going to do.”

Steadying the ship

Nagy acknowledged the disappointment of the season-opening loss but kept an even keel.

“Offensively . . . it wasn’t good enough,” Nagy said. “Too many mental mistakes that we typically don’t make.

“As bad as we were on offense, it was 7-3 with a chance to win in the fourth quarter. You have to step back and understand the 30,000-foot view that we were in a good position because of our defense.

“So now, fine-tune and tweak and get it right. Don’t panic. The people that panic, it doesn’t go very well. You can’t panic. There is too much season left and I refuse to do that.”